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Stratemeyer Syndicate records

Call Number: GEN MSS 107
Scope and Contents
The Stratemeyer Syndicate Records contain legal and financial documents, letters, printed materials, photographs, notebooks, and realia which trace the workings of the publishing concern up to the point at which it was sold to Simon & Schuster in 1984. The Records span the dates 1895-1987, with the majority of materials created in 1984.

The collection is housed in 13 boxes and consists of six series: Legal Documents, Financial Documents, Correspondence, Other Papers, Printed Materials, and Notebooks. Boxes 11-13 contain Oversize material.

Series I, Legal Documents spans the years 1895-1985. The first subseries holds General material from individuals and organizations having legal dealings with the Stratemeyer Syndicate. Extant in the Universal and Walt Disney files are contracts for the development of television shows based on Stratemeyer characters (Box 1, folders 15-18 and folder 19). Writers' agreements files contain examples of contracts executed between the Syndicate and contributing ghostwriters 1895-1984 (Box 1, folders 21-38). The second subseries, Simon & Schuster, which forms the bulk of the entire collection, documents the 1984 sale of partnership interests and rights to Simon Schuster. The first item in this subseries is the final volume of papers detailing the arrangements of the purchase (Box 2, folders 39-44). An index is found in folder 39. Following this final version of the sale document are drafts of most of its individual sections, arranged in the order in which they appear in the final volume. For certain documents which have several drafts, attempts have been made to place them in probable order of their creation. Unique descriptions have been made where possible, though certain items (e.g. Box 3, folders 75 and 76) are distinguished only by folder order. These drafts are followed by assorted items related to Simon & Schuster's purchase of the Stratemeyer Syndicate. Among these are lists of subcontracting licenses, trademark assignments, and internal memos from the law firm which handled the sale.

Series II, Financial Documents , contains items such as billing statements and financial worksheets spanning the dates 1975-85. A number of items relate to the sale to Simon & Schuster, such as financial statements from the Stratemeyer Syndicate (Box 6, folder 176) and lists of the distribution of proceeds from the sale (Box 6, folder 258). Financial documents from agreements with Grosset & Dunlap and billed audit trails for services provide by the law firm of Finley, Kunble, Wagner, Heine, Underberg, Manley & Casey are also included.

Series III, Correspondence , consists of a small number of letters to and from the Stratemeyer Syndicate together with a bound volume of closing correspondence relating to the sale to Simon and Schuster. (Box 7, folder 188).

Series IV, Other Papers , contains various materials related to the operation of the Stratemeyer Syndicate prior to the 1984 purchase by Simon & Schuster. The manuscripts section includes speeches by Harriet Adams (Folders 204-06), an outline of a play concerning Nancy Drew by Steven Angel (Folder 207) and a typescript history of the Stratemeyer Syndicate (Folder 208). Authorship lists (Folder 259) for the Bobbsey Twins, the Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew series provide information on who wrote the plots and the texts for many of these books. Also included are photographs of Harriet Adams and two dictation machines used by Adams to record Nancy Drew stories.

Series V, Printed Materials , consists of newspaper and magazine clippings and copies of magazines on various subjects, such as Nancy Drew (Box 9, folder 238) and the history of the Stratemeyer Syndicate (Box 9, folders 247-48) dating between 1923-86.

Series VI, Notebooks , contains notebooks compiled by Nancy Axelrad.

Oversize materials from Series II, IV and V are housed in Boxes 11-13.

Received with the materials listed above were 31 audiocassettes which have been transferred to Historical Sound Recordings in Sterling Memorial Library.

This collection complements other Stratemeyer Syndicate materials located in the Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection of American Children's Literature.
Conditions Governing Access
The materials are open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
The Stratemeyer Syndicate Records are the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary Rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The Stratemeyer Syndicate Records were donated to the Beinecke Library in 1992 by Nancy S. Axelrad.
9.25 Linear Feet (13 boxes)
Related Names
Stratemeyer Syndicate
Language of Materials